Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2008 (Revised March 2010)

Palm (A): The Debate on Licensing Palm's OS (1997)

by Ramon Casadesus-Masanell, Kevin Boudreau and Jordan Mitchell


This case series looks at three important inflection points in Palm's history that relate to decisions about its platform: when the company was debating whether to open its operating system (OS) for licensing to third-party hardware manufacturers; 2001, when the company was deciding whether to split into two separate companies; and, 2005, when the company was migrating from its own OS into Linux. (The last part, set in 2008, is an epilogue). By looking at Palm's decision concerning its platform over time, students are asked to consider how Palm's decisions affect innovation, competitiveness, value creation and value capture.

Keywords: Business Model; Debates; Decisions; Innovation and Invention; Product Launch; Production; Competition; Value Creation; Information Technology Industry;


Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon, Kevin Boudreau, and Jordan Mitchell. "Palm (A): The Debate on Licensing Palm's OS (1997)." Harvard Business School Case 708-514, May 2008. (Revised March 2010.)